Research Articles | Challenge Journal of Structural Mechanics

Vertical ground motion influence on seismically isolated & unisolated bridges

Naim Eser Reyhanoğulları, Uğurhan Akyüz



In this study, influences of vertical ground motion on seismically isolated bridges were investigated for seven different earthquake data. One assessment of bearing effect involves the calculation of vertical earthquake load on the seismically isolated bridges. This paper investigates the influence of vertical earthquake excitation on the response of briefly steel girder composite bridges (SCB) with and without seismic isolation through specifically selected earthquakes. In detail, the bridge is composed of 30m long three spans, concrete double piers at each axis supported by mat foundations with pile systems. At both end of the spans there exists concrete abutments to support superstructure of the bridge. SCBs which were seismically isolated with ten commonly preferred different lead-rubber bearings (LRB) under each steel girder were analyzed. Then, the comparisons were made with a SCB without seismic isolation. Initially, a preliminary design was made and reasonable sections for the bridge have been obtained. As a result of this, the steel girder bridge sections were checked with AASHTO provisions and analytical model was updated accordingly. Earthquake records were thought as the main loading sources. Hence both cases were exposed to tri-axial earthquake loads in order to understand the effects under such circumstances. Seven near fault earthquake data were selected by considering possession of directivity. Several runs using the chosen earthquakes were performed in order to be able to derive satisfactory comparisons between different types of isolators. Analytical calculations were conducted using well known structural analysis software (SAS) SAP2000. Nonlinear time history analysis was performed using the analytical model of the bridge with and without seismic isolation. Response data collected from SAS was used to determine the vertical load on the piers and middle span midspan moment on the steel girders due to the vertical and horizontal component of excitation. Comparisons dealing with the effects of horizontal only and horizontal plus vertical earthquake loads were introduced.


seismic isolation; bridges; vertical ground motion; nonlinear time history; lead rubber bearing

Full Text:



AASHTO LRFD (2007). Bridge Design Specifications. American Association of State Highway and Transportation Official, Washington, DC.

Applied Technology Council (1996). Seismic evaluation and retrofit of concrete buildings, volume 1 (ATC 40), report No. SSC 96-01.

Bowles JE (1988). Foundation Analysis and Design. McGraw-Hill, New York.

California Department of Transportation Technical Publications, Graphics and Outreach Services Branch (2006) Seismic Design Criteria.

Eröz M, DesRoches R (2007). Bridge seismic response as a function of the friction pendulum system (FPS) modeling assumptions. Engineering Structures, 30(11), 3024-3212.

FEMA 273 (1997). Prestandard and Commentary for the Seismic Rehabilitation of Buildings. American Society of Civil Engineers, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Washington, DC.

FEMA 356 (2001). Prestandard and Commentary for the Seismic Rehabilitation of Buildings. American Society of Civil Engineers, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Washington, DC.

Kunnath SK, Erduran E, Chai YH, Yashinsky M (2008). Effect of near-fault vertical ground motions on seismic response of highway overcrossings. Journal of Bridge Engineering, 13(3), 282–290.

McRae GA, Tagawa H (2002) Methods to estimate displacements of PG&E structures. A final report on research conducted under PG&E/PEER research program, PG&E/PEER Task No: 505.

Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center (PEER) (2000). The regents of the University of California, PEER strong ground motion database,

Warn GP, Whittaker AS (2008). Vertical earthquake loads on seismic isolation systems in Bridges. ASCE Journal of Structural Engineering, 134 (11), 1696-1704.


  • There are currently no refbacks.